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ClientMalden Mills, Inc., Lawrence, MA.
Delicate pile fabrics must be handled carefully during process. The pile face cannot be crushed or creased by piling it over itself. The face is easily damaged by prolonged contact with processing equipment and must be constantly running or draped over the back side. The problem consists of designing a storage system to accumulate some 450 feet of fabric during the process. The delivery and receiving machines must be able to run at any speed from 0 to 100 yards per minute, and in any direction while the accumulator serves as a rubber band in between. It must also be tensionless to prevent fabric stretching and face damage. In addition to that, the machine must prevent contact from rollers with the face for more than 10 seconds stopped.
The system designed does all that.
The picture of the Tensionless Automatic Festooner Accumulator shows the machine as seen from the aisle. At the center of the picture is seen a Thomson guide bar and ball bushings system to allow a stabilizing frame to slide freely up and down. The frame is extremely light (40 lbs.) and its function is to support the special cone rollers that prevent the fabric from wandering sideways since the web is unstable. This guidance system called for very extensive research and testing, but it works beautifully. The basic machine drive is mounted at the ceiling. It consists of a proprietary mechanical computer system that drives every top roll at a different speed so that every fabric loop is the same length while going up or down, at any speed, and in any direction at either end.
Revised: April 8, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Elizabeth K. Lai MIT '96
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